DMVs, airports, Post Offices, the doctor. What do these places have in common that causes me to cringe even typing the words? Waiting. Standing still. Not being somewhere else. Having zero control over anything. Never mind the fact that nowadays we have the entire Internet at our fingertips and can read a book, creep on the activity of all of our friends who are not presently stuck in a waiting room or purchase something on Amazon. It is an awful feeling to have to sit in a holding pattern and have no guarantee when the waiting will end.
Life these days is more and more being engineered to where we don’t have to wait. New phones show up in the mail without having to go stand in line at Verizon or the AT&T store. New movies are downloadable without even having having to go to a RedBox, much less a Blockbuster store where you would rent a VHS tape that had to be rewound like back in the day. (To my younger readers, yes that actually happened.) Arguments are easily settled simply by asking Siri or spending ten seconds on Google. Less and less is gratification deferred. More and more everything we want is available on-demand. That phrase is telling. On-Demand. We strut about like little emperors receiving everything we want simply by pushing a button or voice-cue (a buggy feature which we complain about when it doesn’t works as though life were just oh so cruel.)
There is no doubt the world has violently changed and it will only get crazier in the days to come. One has to wonder what impact this will have on the invisible parts of who we are. One obvious downside is that the less we have to wait the worse we become at waiting when we have to. Flight delays, full queues, and lines of people stress me out to the max. I went to the DMV needing to renew my drivers license a while back. When I saw the crowded waiting room and began to comprehend the fact that there was no way around this line, I genuinely felt myself panic.
What about the upside of waiting? The character that it builds. The way our souls are stretched and honed through it. The way it gives us the opportunity to exercise faith and build patience. In the book of Proverbs we are told that when hope is deferred it makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life. Translation: Good things come to those who wait.
I saw a special on Tabasco sauce recently that was stunning. What was most amazing to me was hearing that it takes four and a half years to make a batch of the hot red condiment! They put it into barrels and let it age for almost five years. Talk about patience. Why? You just can’t rush perfection. Think about that next time you douse your eggs with a bottle of the stuff. No, it is no fun to wait. But if you feel like you are in limbo today, know this, God hasn’t forgotten you, He is trying to grow good things inside of you. I don’ t know about you, but I want to be like Tabasco.
I was hosting the Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium when I was challenged to dump a bucket of ice water over my head or donate 100 to the ALS association, all to raise awareness of ALS. Since the window was only 24 hours to get the challenge done I decided to multitask and do it at the stadium… all good fun. What I didn’t know was that someone had FILLED the cooler with not just ice and water but an insane amount of salt to make it colder….well, it sure made it saltier.
Well, the sixth and final ship sailed (sad face) and this weekend we are launching a brand new series, Hug It Out: Embracing the goodness of God even when life is bad. No matter what season of life you are in I believe this will prove to be a study and encounter that we all desperately need.
Info, teaser and other stuff here.
Have you ever seen an indecisive child trying to jump rope? They have two friends swinging it round and round in a circle and they are just off to the side trying to feel out the rhythm of the rope. Their head and hands bob up and down every time the rope passes by and it seems as though they will dive in at any moment, but then they don’t. They just stand there telling them self they will hop in the next time the rope passes by, but each time finding some reason to wait for a better swing. The problem is that the longer they wait the more they psyche them self out.
There will always be a reason not to take action on a daring plan or bold idea. Whether it is something you want to create, like a company or piece of art, a brand new approach to an area of your life needing renovation or something you sense God wants you to do to bless someone; if you wait for everything to fall in place and line up perfectly to take action, you will never do anything. Birth involves both beauty, agony and mystery. Without uncertainty there is no need for faith. Risk is essential for reward.
If the dream that lies in your heart is something the world truly needs to see. If it will inspire people or be disruptive in an industry, it is probably somewhat shocking, will most likely be misunderstood, and doesn’t look, feel or sound like anything anyone’s heard before. If there is nothing new, unfamiliar or foreign about it than dream bigger. Don’t peddle a carbon copy of someone else’s passion. There is greatness inside of you waiting to come out and the only way that will happen is if you face your fear and take a risk.
The downside of being original is that until people love it, they won’t understand it and will not see the need for it. There was a day when air travel was seen as impossible, computers unnecessary and rock and roll controversial. We take for granted their place in our life now but that’s because people were willing to press on in spite of all the reasons why they should stop and just accept the world as it is. They stuck to their guns, took reckless steps of faith and changed the world as a result. Never forget this; conventional wisdom can keep you from a miracle.
Perhaps you are not supposed to do something entirely new but do something you are already doing with an entirely new mentality. Zacchaeus didn’t do a different job once Jesus rocked his world. He approached his same old job with a fresh set of eyes and a new value system that flew in the face of the prevailing best practices of tax collectors in that day. Instead of greed he was fueled by integrity and generosity. It would have been shocking to his peers and there would have been many shiny, gold reasons why he shouldn’t tip over the apple cart or wait until the end of the fiscal year. He took action. The right time to do the right thing is right now. If you wait until you have answers to all your questions or can guarantee a favorable outcome you will still be standing there forever, the rope swinging by again and again while your life passes you by. You just gotta go for it.
Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV)
It was an absolute dream come true to be able to travel to Europe to preach the Gospel earlier this summer. We have seen people from other countries come to know Jesus through our ministry over the years after watching live webcasts or listening to an episode of our podcast; but being able to put on evangelistic events on foreign soil was an absolute thrill and honor.
Skull Church has been a platform to preach the Gospel since the first event took place in 2009. The bloody death of Jesus Christ and His power over death is what it is all about. Later this fall we will be going on a tour that will take us through several states but up until this point, with one exception, we haven’t really gone outside of Montana. So to go to England and Hungary was a major step of faith and a joy.
Preaching in the beautiful city of Budapest was something I was a little stressed about, since preaching through a translator is something I have only done on a few occasions and Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages on earth. The upside is that you have the time to gather your thoughts while they are translating but you are constantly having to rethink whether humor will come across and if a phrase has an equivalent in their paradigm. It ended up going well.
England was of course much easier as they sort of own English. To the British we are the ones with an accent, and are seen as having butchered their language. No translation was needed and I had a blast ministering there. It was absolutely wonderful to hear people calling on the name of Jesus in Hungarian and with a British accent. It gave me chills. The gospel is powerful no matter what nation you are in. Jesus is the only name that can save in any language.
In addition the the Skull Church events I also preached at a pastor’s conference with leaders who had assembled from all over England, Scotland and Ireland. It was a massive honor to address them and encourage them to keep going and not grow weary. We also were able to bring a little fresh life to York as we took over the weekend services at my friend Pastor Dave Sylvester’s church on a Sunday morning. It was a great pleasure for me to see our team serve so faithfully, through the jetlag. Some of them had never left the country before and I love the opportunities that God opens up for us as we follow Him. Never a dull moment.
I truly believe that this was just the tip of the spear as it comes to the international future God has in store for Skull Church, and specifically in Europe. Now that we have done it once we have learned our footing a bit, and made some mistakes on the way. I am hungry to do it again and to see what the Lord will do.
Here is the Skull Church Europe lookbook: